Opinion: Catching Covid highlighted our lack of preparedness

Last month, I managed to contract Covid-19 and, while feeling much better now, I still have limited energy.

I need a lie-down after hoovering a room and if I have to think too hard about a problem, a sort of brain fog descends. (And yes, for the sceptics, this is different than usual.)

It means that for the past few weeks, I have largely avoided contemplating business issues and have restricted my TV consumption to nothing more challenging than sport and Channel 5.

See also: How to go about making a will

About the author

Elizabeth ElderElizabeth Elder
Columnist, Farmers Weekly

Elizabeth Elder and her husband Jake run sheep and cattle on 235ha of hill ground on the Otterburn Firing Range, Northumberland.

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The latter has a limited, though relaxing, programme range, mainly comprising Cruising with Jane MacDonald, Yorkshire farms, Yorkshire vets, other farms, other vets and other things involving Yorkshire – just the thing for anyone feeling under the weather and in need of undemanding, soothing viewing.

From watching these programmes, I have been surprised by how much of the vets’ core business appears to be castration (at least one session per episode), as well as dealing with llamas and alpacas, though this may just be catering to what the fans want to see.

It was disappointing – OK, I was livid – to get sick almost within touching distance of being offered a vaccination.

We still don’t know how I caught the virus. This year I have only left home about once a week to collect groceries.

My husband, Jake, was ill the week before me. At the time, we naturally thought his symptoms had resulted from a massive overindulgence in haggis.

But it turns out they could equally have been some of the less well-publicised symptoms of Covid 19. He recovered in three days and never took a Covid test, so we’ll never know. 

We are just grateful that he didn’t become incapacitated like me – especially at this time of year, with cattle in the sheds and lambing starting.

The episode did rather highlight our vulnerability to something unexpected, sudden and bad happening to key personnel (either of us) and our lack of preparedness for such an event.

The most worrying point in my own illness was when my blood oxygen dropped well below the level at which you are told to seek urgent help.

At that point I remember thinking:

  1. This could become very serious very quickly
  2. I haven’t done the VAT return
  3. Jake is not going to be able to work out my passwords, get into the farm computer, pay any bills or even know what they are
  4. If things turn out really badly, my finances are not “in order”. If I can barely remember where things are, how will anyone else know?
  5. Our wills are out of date
  6.  No one else knows where our wills are anyway
  7. If/when I get through Covid-19, I really need to sort this out.

Luckily, I recovered and I have started to address some of the easy stuff on this list.

I suspect that not having one’s affairs in order is quite widespread. For example, no one knew that my grandfather had any premium bonds until he won £50 – about 20 years after his death.

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